The Day Jimmy Madison Rescued Joe Morello

Ludwig‘s Facebook post today commemorating the company’s 400 Supra-Phonic Snare Drum reminds me of story involving drummers Jimmy Madison and Joe Morello. Madison told me the story during our interview which was published in the October 1982 Modern Drummer.


Madison was a kid living in Ohio. The Dave Brubeck Quartet was set to appear at a local fair. Jimmy was very excited at the chance to hear and see Joe Morello.

Madison arrived at the fair stage in time to see Morello setting up a drumset. As I recall the story, it was a rental set. I think Joe’s drums were lost in transit. Jimmy said the rental snare was dead-sounding and awful. He watched Morello trying without success to adjust the drum so it was playable — and then Madison approached Joe Morello.

Madison told Joe Morello he had just acquired a Ludwig snare exactly like the snare Morello normally used. It was a present, I think, from Jimmy Madison’s parents. Madison offered to loan it to Morello for the show. He lived close by and, said Madison, it was no trouble to go get his drum.

Morello accepted the offer, played the gig on Madison’s snare. It was a win-win. Plus, Jimmy told me, he had the bonus of owning a new Ludwig snare drum used in concert by Joe Morello.

Which reminds me: Whatever happened to Jimmy Madison? He was a super nice guy and a top-shelf player.


About Scott K Fish
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5 Responses to The Day Jimmy Madison Rescued Joe Morello

  1. Geoff Nelson says:

    I believe “Stick Control For The Snare Drummer” came out in 1911.

  2. Pingback: Buddy Rich: Navigating Strange Drumsets | Scott K Fish

  3. Pingback: Jimmy Madison: We Were Like Joe Morello’s Mascots | Scott K Fish

  4. scottkfish says:

    Thank you. I will give it a listen. Yesterday, when I was readying my blog post, I was surprised to find only two not-very-good Jimmy Madison photos online. I’ll hunt around and see if I still have his interview transcript. Best/skf

  5. Besides the /very good) Scott K. Fish interview in the October 1982 Modern Drummer magazine, the latest thing I’ve heard from Jimmy Madison was this interview from 2011 by Jack Feinberg, who interviews a lot of great drummers in his shows:
    It seems that Jimmy Madison had a recording studio in Manhattan and worked as an engineer, but I don’t know if the studio still exists.

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